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Abel Wolman Edit Profile

chairman , inventor , official , scientist

Abel Wolman, American sanitary engineer. Co-developer method for chlorinating water. Member American Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Works Association (president 1942), American Public Health Association (president 1939), American Association for the Advancement of Science, Faraday Society (England), Royal Institute Public Health (England) (Harben lecturer 1979), National Academy of Sciences, National Academy Engineering.

Background

Wolman, Abel was born on June 10, 1892 in Baltimore. Son of Morris and Rose (Wachsman) Wolman.

Education

He graduated from the Baltimore City College in 1909, got a B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University in 1913 and then a B.S. in engineering from Hopkins in 1915.

Career

His work in supplying clean water spanned eight decades. From 1914 to 1939, Wolman worked for the Maryland State Department of Health, serving as Chief Engineer from 1922 to 1939. It was during his early years there that he made his most important contribution.

Working in cooperation with chemist Linn Enslow, he standardized the methods used to chlorinate Baltimore's drinking-water supply. His efforts there helped develop the plan for Baltimore's water supply so thoroughly and effectively that it remains well-provided for growth through the 21st century. His work also benefited water systems in New York, Detroit and Columbus, Ohio.

A collection of his writings has been published: Water, Health and Society, Selected Papers. Wolman served as the Chairman of the Advisory Council for planning Israel's National Water Carrier project (1950-1956). Wolman taught for many years on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University, where he established the Department of Sanitary Engineering in 1937.

He served as the department's chairman until his official retirement in 1962. In May, 1966 the university named a newly acquired dormitory Wolman Hall in his honor. Wolman became Editor of the American Water Works Association's Journal AWWA in 1919 and was responsible for making it into a monthly publication in 1924.

The Association presents the Abel Wolman Award of Excellence each year to recognize those whose careers in the water works industry exemplify vision, creativity, and excellent professional performance characteristic of Wolman's long and productive career. In 1986, the City of Baltimore renamed its public works building, the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, honoring his years of service to the city. Today, the Abel Wolman building is where citizens of Baltimore come to pay their property taxes, parking fines and metered water bills.

Wolman's son, M. Gordon "Reds" Wolman, was an eminent geomorphologist who was also on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University. He was also known for inventing a technique for evaluating grain-size distribution in riverbeds, known as the Wolman Pebble Count, which has helped geomorphologist to understand flooding, sedimentation, and other physical impacts to a stream.

Achievements

  • Albert Lasker Public Service Award, 1960National Medal of Science, 1974Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, 1976Robert E. Horton Medal, 1986.

Membership

Member American Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Works Association (president 1942), American Public Health Association (president 1939), American Association for the Advancement of Science, Faraday Society (England), Royal Institute Public Health (England) (Harben lecturer 1979), National Academy of Sciences, National Academy Engineering.

Connections

Married Anne Gordon, June 10, 1919 (deceased 1984). 1 son, Markley Gordon.

father:
Morris Wolman

mother:
Rose (Wachsman) Wolman

spouse:
Anne Gordon